Expats who have vehicle confiscated better bring their wallets

Note to expats:

Getting a car confiscated is an expensive event.

Traffic police confiscate vehicles when the violation is major, such as driving without a license or without valid license plates.

Some of the fines are draconian, but that is not all. The Consejo de Seguridad Vial notes that the charges keep building.

The cost of having a tow truck take the vehicle is an expense that the driver has to bear.  As of Aug. 19, the cost is  5,347.02 colons for the first six kilometers, about $10, and then  819.17 colons for each subsequent kilometer.

The impound lot charges 3,484.41 per day, about $6.60, even if the vehicle is only there a short time. That is one reason the

Ministerio de Obras Púbica y Tranportes has a surplus of abandoned vehicles.

In order to liberate the vehicle, the owner has to pay the fine and related charges. The driver has to visit what is called a unidad de impugnación, which are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. There is at least one in every major community.

Under the 2012 traffic law, contesting and paying traffic tickets are no longer handled in the traffic courts.

Since the middle of the month, those who have been given a traffic ticket can appeal it via fax or email, as well as with a personal appearance, the Consejo noted. The email address is recepción-impugnaciones@csv.go.cr.

Motorists have 10 days to appeal a traffic ticket, the Consejo noted. If the appeal is denied, the motorist can begin a judicial process and go perhaps as high as the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

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